The sentencing of a mother and son in federal court this week marks the end of an investigation into a family that earned more than $1 million selling synthetic drugs from stores in downtown Plano and Tyler.
The illegal drugs were labeled as incense and potpourri but marketed under more than a dozen different names, including “Dr Feel Good,” “Brain Freeze,” “Mr. Sinn” and “Klassic Klimax.” They were sold at the Ashes Smokes and Tattoos shop on Avenue K in downtown Plano and the Minute Stop on Highway 64 West in Tyler.
Nadia Farishta, 54, was sentenced Thursday to 47 months in federal prison. That same day, her 29-year-old son, Sharjeel Jeff Ali, received a 30-month prison sentence. The Dallas residents had pleaded guilty in June to charges, including conspiracy to distribute and possession to
The designer drugs are considered synthetic cannabinoids, which are closely related to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to court documents. Synthetic marijuana also is known by the names K2 or spice.
Some people became ill after using the drugs, court documents say.
“The scourge of illegal drug use in our community is as great now as ever before,” Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston of the Eastern District of Texas said in a written statement. “In this case, the selling of chemically laced leaves and other substances to be sold as fake marijuana to young people is reckless.
“No one has any idea what exactly was sprayed onto the ‘K-2’ substance, yet these synthetic drugs were sold for lots of money. It’s crazy to me that people will ingest these so-called ‘synthetic’ drugs with nothing more than a guess as to what high or harm it will do to them.”
Farishta and Ali also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substance analogues and engaging in monetary transactions.
Three relatives pleaded guilty to charges similar to those Farishta and Ali faced.
distribute controlled substances.
Farishta’s ex-husband, Saleem Jiwani, 59, of Tyler was sentenced in September to 60 months in federal prison.
The divorced couple’s daughter, Nimrose Khan, 33, of Carrollton was sentenced in September to 24 months in federal prison. Khan’s husband, Adeel Uz Zaman Khan, 31, of Carrollton was sentenced in October to 30 months in federal prison.
Farishta’s attorney, James Whalen, said his client bought the Plano business with her ex-husband so their children would be more financially secure. But she relied too much on Jiwani, who has a previous felony drug conviction, and she missed some warning signs, Whalen said.
“She’s paying dearly for a poor decision,” he said.
Ali’s attorney declined to comment. Attorneys for the other three defendants could not be reached for comment late Friday.
The illegal drug sales began in 2013, or possibly earlier. The drugs were kept hidden behind the counter at both businesses and sold for $10 to $50 a packet, documents stated. The five were arrested in August 2016.
As part of their sentences, the family forfeited more than $250,000 in cash and about 55 pounds of synthetic drugs along with drug paraphernalia. Jiwani and Farishta were each ordered to pay $500,000 judgments as part of their sentences.